Maintenance

now browsing by category

 

Skylights: Where the Leaks Start

Modern Skylight Installation

A skylight is basically a large hole in your roof covered with glass, or a window put on the roof instead of in the wall. The trouble is that any hole in your roof is a leak waiting to happen. 

Older styles of skylights were the worst. Plexiglass bubbles inserted in the roofing. Two problems are associated with this. First is there is nothing to channel water around the skylight. Second, the plexiglass tended to degrade from the UV rays of the sun. This caused the skylight to become brittle and eventually crack, allowing water in and cool air out.

Large old style plexiglass skylight in a flat roof

This is an old style plexiglass skylight in a flat roof. Notice the dried out patching that has already been done to this skylight.

Old Style Plexiglass Skylight

This is another old style plexiglass skylight in a shingled roof. Again, notice the dried out patching that has already been done to this skylight.

Modern Skylight

Newer skylights have curbs built around them. Usually 2×4’s with metal or peel & stick flashing to prevent moisture from getting from on the roof into the home. Now, you can get them in insulated glass with low E films to prevent a lot of the solar heat gain that older skylights caused.  

Solar Tube skylight
Finally, we have the Solar Tube type skylights. These won’t give you a beautiful view of the nigh sky, but they will pull natural daylight into the home with very little thermal gain. The opening in your roof is reduced to about the same size as a plumbing vent, much smaller than a typical skylight, and much less prone to leaks. They system works with stainless steel tubes in the attic down to a diffuser in the ceiling about the size of a typical can light.
 To get your roof inspected, call i-Inspect at 407-497-5190 or visit our website at www.i-inspect.biz. 
Copyright © 2020 i-Inspect, LLC, All rights reserved.

Warranties and What’s Behind Them

Some home inspection companies advertise the “free” warranties they provide along with their inspections. Sounds great – until you read the fine print.

Usually, the ones providing these warranties are fairly new in the business and are looking to get a leg up on the more established companies in the area. You’ll see things like “90 Day Sewer Warranty” or “30 Day Appliance Warranty” or several others up to full home warranties. Please, if you use one of these companies, read the fine print. Many of these add on services are not worth the time it took to read them. Others are merely a way to access your personal information for additional marketing. A few are legitimate, but they are rare as unicorns.

At a home inspectors’ conference, one of the speakers was from one of these home warranty companies. He actually bragged that in the previous year, they had 50,000 customers sign up at $100 per client. That is $5 million in gross income. He went on to then brag that in that year, they had hundreds of claims, nearly all of which were denied, but they did have to pay for one dishwasher. Not a bad gig if you can get it? Total income $5 million ($5,000,000) and total expenses in the neighborhood of $300 for a new dishwasher and installation.

This same speaker went on to add that once you are one of their customers, they then market your information to some of their sister businesses, at an additional profit to them. They would get you signed up for other extended warranties; such as plumbing, AC service contracts, etc.

Are all warranties bad? My experience has be that very few extended warranties have been worthwhile. Cell phones, tablets and washing machines are the only ones I’ve personally paid for that have been worthwhile.

But some of these warranties are “free” and why not use them? Most of these free warranties are of the 30 to 90 day variety. They did cost the inspector a few dollars, but that is part of his cost of doing business. Think about this; from the time you have your inspection until you close on your home and move in will typically take 30 to 45 days. What is going to go wrong with your sewer lines or your appliances while they are sitting unused in the home waiting on you to move in? OK, some of these are for 90 days. Still a safe bet that if they were working at the time of inspection, that you’ll get at least another month or two out of them.

Time to Clean the Gutters

gutter full of leaves

Ok, it is Autumn here in Florida. The temperature may not show it, but the trees have figured out there is less daylight and are shedding their leaves. Leaves like to collect: in corners, in roof valleys, and especially in gutters.

Gutters full of leaves do not drain properly. In short, they stand water. Water standing in leaves picks up the tannic acid from the leaves and can corrode metal gutters. Standing water can also overflow the gutter and enter the home through the facia. There, it will begin rotting the wooden facia and start causing all sorts of other problems (wood rot and other fungi).

The best cure for all of this is to get your handyman or spouse or self on a ladder and dig that stuff out of the gutters. Use leather or other protective gloves as there is not much telling what is in that stuff. While you’re up there, look at the roof. Do you need to blow the leaves out of the valleys? Are the shingles still in good shape?

Be careful on the ladder and stay safe.

Air Conditioner Filters – Penny Wise & Dollar Foolish

AC systems are designed to run with filters, but filters come in several grades.

 

If we really wanted to cool the home down quickly, we would use no filter at all, but then we’d have dust collecting on the evaporator coil and in the ducts.  Both of which are very expensive to have cleaned. If we didn’t ever want dust in the evaporator coil or in the ducts, we’d put a piece of plywood in the filter slot. But, now we cannot move any cool air out of the system and into the home. Your AC filter is somewhere between nothing and a sheet of plywood.

Cheap fiberglass filters (MERV 5 or less at $1 or $2 each) are very close to the “use no filter” example above. If you can see through them, they won’t do much. They do not stop much in the way of dust, hair, molds or pollens.  Most of that is going to end up in the system and have to be cleaned by a service technician. Cheap filters equals expensive maintenance. Washable filters tend to fall into this category as well.

 

Expensive allergy rated filters (MERV 10 and up at $10 to $40 each) are close to the “sheet of plywood” example. Yes, they trap mold and pollen, but they plug up quickly. Once they are plugged up, the system has to work much harder to move air through them.  When the AC system cannot move air like it was designed, the house does not cool as well and the system runs longer ($$). If you leave these in too long, you’ll actually see a good AC system physically deform the filter. It will come out all bowed up in the middle.  In Florida, most of this class of filter are full within a week, depending on the time of the year.  Very expensive to use, and actually hurts the performance of the AC system.

 

Most systems are designed to run with MERV 8 filters. These are the “middle of the road” filters. They are pleated paper and reinforced, generally in a cardboard frame. Typical prices are from $5 to $7 each.  I get mine in packs of 3, but there are also websites that you can order a dozen at time or others will send you a new one every month. Filters should be changed monthly. Don’t believe the “90 days” label. This is Florida and we are sub-tropical, meaning we have more stuff in our air than most other places. Change your filter monthly. Some do it on the 1st of the month, other change the filter when they get the electric bill.  It does not matter, when, just get a system and use it.

 

MERV 8 is the industry standard, but other filter manufacturers use different standards to measure their filter’s effectiveness.

 FILTER RATING COMPARISON CHART: 

MERV MPR FPR EFFICENCY
8 1000 7/Red Dust, Pollen, Mold, Dust Mites, Lint, Bacteria
10 1900 9/ Purple Above +  Pet Dander
13 2200 10/Black Above + Virus Carrier, Odors, and Smoke, 

 

Roof Drains Done Wrong

One roof should never drain onto another roof. This will shorten the life of your shingles where the upper roof dumps water onto the lower roof.  Take this new home for example. The upper roof had gutters installed, but they dumped the downspouts onto the lower roof.  This took all of the water from the upper roof surface and concentrated it into a 4 inch wide pipe. Shingles were never designed to handle water volumes like that.

To make matters worse, at the other end of the home, the downspout flows water across the shingles. Shingles are not designed to be waterproof, but to shed water. Flowing large amounts of water sideways across the roof surface is inviting water to get under the shingles. Once that happens, it is not long before a leak will occur.

This was not a small home, but a large 5 bedroom home in a new subdivision.  I’ll say it again, if you are purchasing a home, new or old, you need a Licensed Home Inspector to go over the home with you.  It can save you much more than the cost of the inspection. Contact i-Inspect today for your home inspection needs.

 

 

 

 

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com